|Come Unto Christ ....||Bob Moore|
Foremost in nature is mankind. He is its crowning achievement. Endowed with intelligence, creativity and industry, he has subdued the earth and controlled its resources to such an extent that in our generation he has developed a productive and prosperous society. Disease, ignorance and inequality are gradually being eliminated, while freedom, knowledge and justice are increasing daily. Prosperity is replacing poverty and superstition is yielding to education. Even political and military differences are evaporating in the spirit of peace and cooperation. A new, better world order appears on the horizon.
Unfortunately, our success has a price. The factories producing our goods also pollute our environment. Our prosperity increases not only our luxury but our greed. Education expands our knowledge and multiplies our doubts. Every improvement in society seems to also create unconceived but harmful side effects. As a result, drug use, physical abuse, murder, racial tensions, and sexual deviation now regularly permeate daily life. Even those persons practicing traditional discipline often face stress, financial insecurity, family unrest and personal isolation. So great are the pressures of daily life that one can not escape remembering the failures of past empires. The works of Egypt, Greece and Rome with their pyramids, statues and coliseums may still stand, but their dominion and way of life have long passed from the earth. Underneath our visible success lies the feeling that our failures will eventually cause our ruin, too.
Nowhere else do our inadequacies more glaringly appear than in our personal relationships. Despite our desire to do good, act nobly, provide loving care, or assist the less fortunate, there lies beneath the surface of our souls passions, such as selfishness, anger and lust which can not always be controlled, and which occasionally erupt to injure even those we love the most. As a result, half our marriages end in divorce. Many of our children are emotionally and, sometimes, physically abandoned. Our neighbors are often strangers and our coworkers merely acquaintances. Without supportive and stable relationships too many of us drift through life isolated and lonely, easily deceived by the slightest promise of friendship or security. In this state many of us seek activities and pursue objectives which further separate us from one another because they feed our desires instead of our souls. Intoxicated by our own pleasure and controlled by our own possessions, too many of us live lives of desperation and dissatisfaction.
Our inadequacies are the direct result of our nature. While God created all of us good, after our creation we were tainted with evil. Now whenever we try to do good, evil is with us. The same hand that reaches out to comfort the afflicted sometimes bruises the innocent. The same arm that protects the weak sometimes enslaves the free. Each of us knows that no matter how noble, compassionate, or gracious we appear on the outside, inside we struggle with ravenous, even wicked, thoughts that threaten to undo the good we have achieved and expose the evil we constantly try to subdue.
The Bible calls the wrongs that spring from within us sin. Sin is with us because of events that happened in the distant past. In the beginning, the first man and woman, having listened to temptation, disobeyed God. They became mortal. The disobedience they manifested was sown into their bodies so that in their children it could sprout and produce evil works. We are the offspring of Adam and Eve. Disobedience resides within our flesh so that by nature, we sin. We displease our friends and family. We displease ourselves. We even displease God. Left to our selves, we corrupt not only each other, but our nation and planet, until that which we produce falls into the decay that somehow began within ourselves.
The Bible describes our plight when it states, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." All of us have been cut off from the presence of our Creator, separated from His holiness and His glory, to wander in a life somehow attached to Him so that we might be inspired to return to Him, but sufficiently removed from Him so that while in our disobedience we can not pollute His righteous presence. Because of our sins we are unable to reenter His company by our own efforts. In fact, unless He reveals Himself to us we can not even know He actually exists. At the same time, we are equally unable to lift ourselves from our own fallen state, for our most noble efforts are always spoiled by our weaknesses. We desperately need a Savior in order to rise above our own base nature.
God foresaw our individual condition and the condition of every person before any were created. Because He loved us He anointed His Son at the foundation of the world to redeem us from the sin into which we have since fallen. In the meridian of time our Savior was born in the flesh, having been conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, his mother being a virgin, so that he could bear our nature while still being God. In him was no sin, neither did he sin while on earth. Therefore, he was not required to die. Nevertheless, he took upon himself our weaknesses, our limitations and our failures. He took upon himself our inadequacies and bore our sins upon a cross where they died in him. The consequence of our transgressions and the transgressions of the entire human race were fulfilled in him when he was crucified. Although he was sealed in a tomb, death could not hold him. Clothed with the power of God he rose from the dead. His resurrection testifies that he has power not only to raise himself, but to raise all those willing to follow him. Just as he overpowered the death, defeat and decay that scarred him, he can overpower the death, defeat and decay that ravages us and raise us to the righteousness and nobility that yearns for expression in our souls, but to which we cannot climb without his aid.
Since our evil condition is a result of a choice made by our first father, which choice is repeated by us when we embrace our selfishness, God's redemption can not merely snatch us from the disorder of sin. Each of us must choose to leave sin. Surging within each person is both the desire to be righteous and the desire to act selfishly. We must choose which of the two we prefer. We can not do both, although most of us try. The fact is, as we live this life we eventually make our choice. We will cling to one of the two and repel the other. We will choose either the things of God or the things of this world. Those choosing to return to God are willing to yield to Christ. They are willing to die to the things of this world. They manifest this desire by re enacting his death. Immersed under water in baptism they show to witnesses both on earth and in heaven that they have crucified the carnal desires of the flesh, which the world seeks to serve, in order to rest in their Savior. As he rose from the grave they rise from the water to walk in newness of life. Their old sins are remitted, even washed away, and they are reborn, made as pure and innocent as they were when they left the womb and first cuddled in their mothers' arms. God anoints those baptized with the Holy Ghost. While their sins have just been washed away they still live in their flesh and the disobedience sown there still clamors for fulfillment. The Holy Ghost gives the baptized power and guidance to subdue the will of the flesh and yield to the will of God. As a result, they can become a new creature in Christ, imitations of Christ, or Christians, who through divine assistance learn to stop sinning, right wrongs and rise above failure.
We invite all to come unto Christ. Forsake the failures and frustrations of this world. Leave its sorrows and sufferings and come unto Christ. Learn of him. Embrace his ways. Bear his cross, for his burden is lighter than the burdens of this world and his discipline easier than the bondage of this life. Join the hymn of those who, following him, sing, "Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, into thy freedom, gladness and light, Jesus, I come, Oh Jesus, I come." Those embracing him and enduring with him will find the peace of God's presence both in this life and the life to come, a balm for the bruised and a rest for all weary souls.
Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to forsake the ways of the world. Some prefer to pursue their own interests and pleasures, continually injuring those around them and eternally injuring themselves. As the number of people rejecting Jesus increases, disorder both in society and the environment also increases until discord, even destruction, appears imminent. Our God is not only interested in saving individuals from the ravages of sin, but He is interested in saving all His creation as well. He has decreed that wickedness will have dominion in the earth for only a specified season. Eventually the time will come when His kingdom will be established throughout the entire earth. When this happens truth, righteousness and peace will reign around the world. The feeble will be lifted, the bruised healed, the downtrodden exalted, and the mournful comforted. There will be none to harm or hurt anywhere in His holy kingdom. This kingdom will be established upon earth by the same person who bore our sins upon the cross. Jesus will appear a second time. This time he will descend in clouds of glory accompanied by the host of heaven. The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of God and of His Christ. Nations will cease and divisions among peoples end. Personal relationships will be sanctified and all people remaining will become holy. In addition, the earth itself will be cleansed and purified as the pollutions threatening its existence are purged away. Jesus will reign on earth, as the scriptures say, with healing in his wings and all creation will rest in him and under his rule.
In order to prepare all the inhabitants of the earth who so desire to participate in these glorious events, our Savior has commissioned his servants in these last days to invite all to come unto him. At one time Christian civilization was bound in superstition and oppression, but God enlightened men whose efforts to reform the church Jesus had once built rekindled in the more faithful a desire to establish God's kingdom on earth. Having reserved the American continent for His purposes, He led to it the pilgrims and puritans. They came to the new world "in the way of seeking first the kingdom of God" and for "a fuller and better reformation of the Church of God, than it hath yet appeared in the world." As a result, God established this great nation, the United States, having first liberated it from the bondage of old world governments and then underlaying its formation and Constitution with the ideals of liberty and freedom, so that He could restore his church in its original pristine purity. This church is commissioned to preach and practice the gospel of Jesus Christ as originally instituted by our Savior and prepare those embracing His message for the coming of His kingdom and personal rule on earth.
Just as Satan has tried to pervert the work of God in every age, even so he is trying to pervert His work in these last days. Today both the nation God established and the church He restored are under attack. Enemies have infiltrated our institutions and gathered followers dedicated to erasing the ideals upon which our country was established. They have redefined the meaning of liberty, human rights and personal freedom, and attacked Biblical teachings and Christian principles for the purpose of establishing their own false doctrines. They have even removed most public references to and practices of our Savior or his church and have dedicated themselves to the total elimination of his memory and principles. They have been so successful that our country now reeks with disorder, unrest and decay. At the same time, the church of Christ has been assailed and her members, at times, scattered and confused. Devote believers have sometimes lost the motivation and, occasionally, even the place, to worship their Savior in the fullness of his gospel. For those dismayed by the advance of perversion and wickedness we testify that the promises of God remain sure. His kingdom will prevail. The same power which raised Christ from the dead will rend the heavens. Jesus will descend with the trump of God to save both his people and his creation. All those waiting for him and remaining with him will be raised by him to live with him on an earth cleansed and prepared for him.
In these waning days of wickedness, when sin abounds and evil rages, where pleasures allure and rationalizations corrupt, we invite you to come unto Christ. Leave the attractions that can not fulfill and the philosophies that do not enlighten and embrace him, for he is the source of all joy, light and life. Let his grace cleanse you of sin and remake you into his likeness. For those willing to be reborn he promises the gift of the Holy Ghost so that through Christ you can be raised into heavenly places and enjoy a foretaste of the inheritance of the saints. The best way to do this is to worship with a branch of his church. We invite you to worship with us, to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ preached as he originally commissioned it and to observe his ordinances as he originally established them. Let the Spirit that resides within his work relieve you of your failures and purge you of your natural tendencies until you are clean and pure, ready for his coming, ready to embrace him when he appears. We invite you to come unto Christ. "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness" so that "when he shall appear, we shall be like him."